SYRIA: NATO's Next "Humanitarian" War?
by Prof. Michel Chossudovsky
The SHAMEFUL way the American media has been lying
regarding the real intentions of the United States in
Syria is just another chapter concerning the way America's
financial elites BRAZENLY manipulate American public opinion.
The media barrage excludes any objective analysis of the
social and political character of the opposition, its
ties to ... [the American New World Order System], or
the historical origins of the present crisis. All casualties
in a civil war stoked by the US and its allies are automatically
attributed to government security forces.
This is a coordinated campaign to manipulate public
opinion in support of military intervention in the name
of "human rights," following the script of last
year's bloody exercise in regime-change in Libya. The
immediate demand is for the setting up of "humanitarian
corridors" protected militarily by the Gulf States,
Turkey and NATO, as well as the arming of the opposition.
[Please see our article, "Libya:
Lies, Lies and More Lies."]
"In order to facilitate the action of liberative (sic) forces,
... a special effort should be made to eliminate certain
key individuals ... [to] be accomplished early in the
course of the uprising and intervention, ...
"Once a political decision has been reached to proceed with
internal disturbances in Syria, CIA is prepared ... to mount
minor sabotage and coup de main (sic) incidents within Syria,
working through contacts with individuals ... Incidents should
not be concentrated in Damascus ...
"Further: a 'necessary degree of fear .. frontier incidents
and (staged) border clashes', would 'provide a pretext for
intervention ... the CIA ... should use ... capabilities in
both psychological and action fields to augment tension."
(Joint US-UK leaked Intelligence Document, London and Washington,
In this article I want bring to the attention of our readers
a selection of feature articles on the Syrian crisis. Our
objective is to dispel the tide of media lies and government
propaganda, which presents the events in Syria as a "peaceful
The "protests" did not emanate from internal political
cleavages as described by the mainstream media. From the very
outset, they were the result of a covert
US intelligence operation geared towards triggering social chaos,
with a view to eventually discrediting the Syrian government
of Bashar Al Assad and destabilizing Syria as a Nation State.
Since the middle of March 2011, Islamist armed groups -- covertly
supported by the US -- have conducted terrorist attacks directed
against government buildings including acts of arson. Amply
documented, trained gunmen and snipers including mercenaries
have targeted the police, armed forces as well as innocent civilians.
There is ample evidence, as outlined in the Arab League Observer
Mission report, that these armed groups of mercenaries are responsible
for killing civilians.
While the Syrian government and military bear a heavy burden
of responsibility, it is important to underscore the fact
that these terrorist acts – including the indiscriminate
killing of men, women and children -- are part of a US initiative,
which consists is supporting, training and financing "an
armed entity" operating inside Syria.
The evidence confirms that foreign US operatives, according
to reports, have integrated rebel ranks:
"As the unrest and killings escalate in the troubled
Arab state, agents from the CIA are already in Syria assessing
the situation, a security official has revealed. Special forces
are also talking to Syrian dissident soldiers ... Syria will
be bloodiest yet ...'
The Free Syrian Army (FSA) is a creation
of the US. The objective of this armed insurrection
is to trigger the response of the police and armed forces, including
the deployment of tanks and armored vehicles with a view to
eventually justifying a military intervention, under
NATO's "responsibility to protect" mandate.
The Free Syrian Army (FSA) is a creation of the US
A NATO-led intervention is on the drawing board. It was drafted
prior to the onset of the protest movement in March 2011. According
to military and intelligence sources, NATO, Turkey and Saudi
Arabia have been discussing "the form this intervention
US, British and Turkish operatives are supplying the rebels
with weapons. Britain's Ministry of Defence confirms that it
"is drawing up secret plans for a NATO-sponsored no-fly
zone [in coordination with its allies] "but first it needs
backing from the United Nations Security Council." (Syria
will be bloodiest yet, Daily Star). According to
these secret plans: "fighting in Syria could be bigger
and bloodier than the battle against Gaddafi".
A "humanitarian" military intervention modeled
on Libya is contemplated. NATO Special Forces from Britain,
France, Qatar and Turkey are already on the ground inside Syria
in blatant violation of international law. Reports from British
military sources (November 2011) confirm that:
"British Special forces have met up with members of
the Free Syrian Army (FSA)... The apparent goal of this initial
contact was to establish the rebel forces' strength and to
pave the way for any future training operations. ... More
recent reports have stated that British and French Special
Forces have been actively training members of the FSA, from
a base in Turkey. Some reports indicate that training is also
taking place in locations in Libya and Northern Lebanon. British
MI6 operatives and UKSF (SAS/SBS) personnel have reportedly
been training the rebels in urban warfare as well as supplying
them with arms and equipment. US CIA operatives and special
forces are believed to be providing communications assistance
to the rebels."
The Social and Political Context in Syria
There is certainly cause for social unrest and mass protest
in Syria: unemployment has increased in recent years, social
conditions have deteriorated, particularly since the adoption
in 2006 of sweeping economic reforms under IMF guidance. The
later include austerity measures, a freeze on wages, the deregulation
of the financial system, trade reform and privatization. (See
IMF Syrian Arab Republic — IMF Article IV Consultation
Mission's Concluding Statement, 2006).
Moreover, there are serious divisions within the government
and the military. The populist policy framework of the Baath
party has largely been eroded. A faction within the ruling political
establishment has embraced the neoliberal agenda. In turn, the
adoption of IMF "economic medicine" has served to
enrich the ruling economic elite. Pro-US factions have also
developed within the upper echelons of the Syrian military and
But the "pro-democracy"
... supported by NATO and the "international community"
did not emanate from the mainstay of Syrian civil society.
The wave of violent protests represents a very small fraction
of Syrian public opinion. They are terrorist acts of a sectarian
nature. They do not in any way address the broader issues of
social inequality, civil rights and unemployment.
Pro-government rally, Damascus, March 2011
The majority of Syria's population (including the opponents
of the Al Assad government) do not support the "protest
movement" which is characterized by an armed insurgency.
In fact quite the opposite.
Ironically, despite its authoritarian nature, there is considerable
popular support for the government of President Bashar Al Assad,
which is confirmed by the large pro-government rallies.
Syria constitutes the only (remaining) independent secular
state in the Arab world. Its populist, anti-Imperialist and
secular base is inherited from the dominant Baath party, which
integrates Muslims, Christians and Druze. It supports the struggle
of the Palestinian people.
The objective of the US-NATO alliance is to ultimately displace
and destroy the Syrian secular State, displace or co-opt the
national economic elites and eventually replace the Syrian
government of Bashar Al Assad with an Arab sheikdom, a pro-US
Islamic republic or a compliant pro-US "democracy".
The Insurgency: The Libya Model
The insurgency in Syria has similar features to that of
Libya: it is integrated by paramilitary brigades ... directly
supported by NATO and Turkey.
Reports confirm that NATO and Turkey's High Command are providing
the rebels with weapons and training: "NATO strategists
are thinking more in terms of pouring large quantities of anti-tank
and anti-air rockets, mortars and heavy machine guns into the
protest centers for beating back the government armored forces."
Military sources also confirm that Syrian rebels "have
been training in the use of the new weapons with Turkish military
officers at makeshift installations in Turkish bases near the
Syrian border." Recent reports confirm that British and
Qatari Special forces are on the ground in the city of Homs,
involved in training rebel forces as well as organizing the
supply of weapons in liaison with the Turkish military.
As in the case of Libya, financial support is being channeled
to the Syrian rebel forces by Saudi Arabia: "Ankara and
Riyadh will provide the anti-Assad movements with large quantities
of weapons and funds to be smuggled in from outside Syria"
The deployment of Saudi and GCC troops is also contemplated
in Southern Syria in coordination with Turkey.
NATO's activities are not limited to training and the delivery
of weapons systems, the recruitment of thousands of "freedom
fighters"` is also envisaged, reminiscent of the enlistment
of Mujahideen to wage the CIA's jihad (holy war) in the
heyday of the Soviet-Afghan war:
This recruitment of Mujahideen was part of NATO`s strategy
in Libya, where mercenary forces were dispatched to fight under
the helm of "former" Libya Islamic Fighting Group
(LIFG) Commander Abdel Hakim Belhadj.
The Libyan model of rebel forces integrated by "Islamic
brigades" together with NATO special forces has been applied
to Syria, where "Islamist fighters" supported by Western
intelligence are deployed. In this regard, Abdel Hakim`s
LIFG brigade has now been dispatched to Syria, where it is involved
in terrorist acts under the supervision of NATO Special
The Central Role of US
Ambassador Robert S. Ford
US Ambassador Robert S. Ford was dispatched to Damascus in
late January 2011 at the height of the protest movement in Egypt.
(The author was in Damascus on January 27, 2011 when Washington's
Envoy presented his credentials to the Al Assad government).
At the outset of my visit to Syria in January 2011,
I reflected on the significance of this diplomatic appointment
and the role it might play in a covert process of political
destabilization. I did not, however, foresee that this destabilization
agenda would be implemented within less than two months
following the instatement of Robert S. Ford as US Ambassador
The reinstatement of a US ambassador in Damascus, but more
specifically the choice of Robert S. Ford as US ambassador,
bears a direct relationship to the onset of the protest movement
in mid-March against the government of Bashar al Assad.
Robert S. Ford was the man for the job. As "Number
Two" at the US embassy in Baghdad (2004-2005) under the
helm of Ambassador John D. Negroponte, he
played a key role in implementing the Pentagon's "Iraq
Salvador Option". The
latter consisted in supporting Iraqi death squadrons and paramilitary
forces modeled on the experience of Central America.
It is worth noting that Obama's newly appointed
CIA head, General David Petraeus
played a key role the organization of covert support to rebel
forces and "freedom fighters", the infiltration of
Syrian intelligence and armed forces, etc. Petraeus led
the Multi-National Security Transition Command (MNSTC)
"Counterinsurgency" program in Baghdad in 2004 in
coordination with John Negroponte and Robert S Ford at the US
Embassy in Baghdad.
Ambassador Ford in Hama in July 2011
The Insidious Role of the Western media
The role of the US in triggering an armed insurrection is not
addressed by the Western media. Moreover, several "progressive
voices" have accepted the "NATO consensus" at
face value. The role of CIA-MI6 covert intelligence operations
in support of armed groups is simply not mentioned. More
generally, the Western media has misled public opinion on the
nature of the Arab protest movement by failing to address the
support provided by the US State Department as well as US foundations
(including the National Endowment for Democracy (NED)) to selected
pro-US opposition groups.
Known and documented, the U.S. State Department "has been
funding opponents of Syrian President Bashar Assad, since 2006.
The protest movement in Syria was upheld by the media as
part of the "Arab Spring", presented to public opinion
as a pro-democracy protest movement which spread spontaneously
from Egypt and the Maghreb to the Mashriq. There
is reason to believe, however, that events in Syria, however,
were planned well in advance in coordination with the process
of regime change in other Arab countries including Egypt and
The outbreak of the protest movement in the southern border
city of Daraa was carefully timed to follow the events in Tunisia
In chorus they have described recent events in Syria as a "peaceful
protest movement" directed against the government of Bashar
Al Assad, when the evidence amply confirms that US-supported
paramilitary groups are involved in terrorist acts.
Western media distortions abound. Large "pro-government"
rallies (including photographs) are casually presented as "evidence"
of a mass anti-government protest movement. The reports on casualties
are based on unconfirmed "eye-witness reports" or
on Syrian opposition sources in exile. The London based
Syria Observatory for Human Rights are profusely quoted by the
Western media as a "reliable source" with the usual
disclaimers. Israeli news sources, while avoiding the issue
of an armed insurgency, tacitly acknowledge that Syrian forces
are being confronted by an organized professional paramilitary.
The absence of verifiable data, has not prevented the Western
media from putting forth "authoritative figures" on
the number of casualties. What are the sources of this data?
Who is responsible for the casualties?
Dangerous Crossroads: Towards a Broader
Middle East Central Asian War
Escalation is an integral part of the military agenda. Destabilization
of sovereign states through "regime change" is closely
coordinated with military planning. There is a military roadmap
characterized by a sequence of US-NATO war theaters.
War preparations to attack Syria and Iran have been in "an
advanced state of readiness" for several years.
US military planners have outlined the contours of a "humanitarian"
military campaign, in which Turkey (the second largest military
force inside NATO) would play a central role.
We are at dangerous crossroads. Were a US-NATO military operation
to be launched against Syria, the broader Middle East Central
Asian region extending from North Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean
to the Afghanistan-Pakistan border with China would be engulfed
in the turmoil of an extended regional war.
There are at present four distinct war theaters: Afghanistan-Pakistan,
Iraq, Palestine and Libya.
An attack on Syria would lead to the
integration of these separate war theaters, eventually leading
towards a broader Middle East-Central Asian war.
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